Notes & Calendar 1/31/18

A week’s worth of developing stories, events, and signs of the times, culled from the desks, inboxes, and wandering eyes of the editors


EPA to Make Coke Plant Pay Up

On Thursday, the EPA settled a case with Indiana Harbor Coke Company, an East Chicago plant that produces coke, a product of coal distillation, for the country’s biggest steel mills. Under the terms of a federal consent decree, the plant must, among other measures, curb leaks from its coke ovens, pay a $5 million fine to be split between the state and federal governments, and pay $250,000 to build lead mitigation infrastructure in the city. East Chicago has spent much of the past century as a hub for petroleum refineries, steel mills, and chemical factories; its residents have spent that time suffering under the effects of this history. In 2016, the mayor recommended that more than 1,000 residents relocate after the city found dangerously high levels of arsenic and lead in the soil near their housing complex. That crisis prompted The Atlantic (among other publications) to ask, “Is East Chicago the Next Flint?” As the details of this week’s settlement show, it’s a question too reductive to properly grapple with the long past and complex present of the harmful industrial practices threatening the city and its people.

Extending the Red Line…Eventually

The mayor’s office and the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) finally announced a planned route last Friday for a Red Line extension farther south, which would bring its terminus from 95th Street to 130th Street and add four more stops to the line. But don’t expect the city to cut red ribbons on this Red Line project anytime soon: this $2.3 billion hulk of a project still lacks most of its funding aside from what will be needed to pay for an initial engineering and environmental analysis, and there are doubts about how much fiscal relief Trump’s imminent infrastructure plan would actually supply. Even if the project were underwritten in full tomorrow, construction still wouldn’t begin for at least another four years. Financial viability aside, it’s still unclear how much support exists for the extension in neighborhoods through which the Red Line will be extended. Tribune interviews with residents and business owners in the area expressed “wide support for the project,” but others have expressed concern that it could displace residents.

#RahmHatesUs Protest at the UofC Lab School

Last week, parents, students, and education activists protested in front of the University of Chicago Laboratory School in Hyde Park, where Mayor Emanuel’s children attend school, in response to the controversial CPS announcement that four Englewood high schools—Hope, Harper, Robeson, and TEAM Englewood—would be closed the following year to make room for a new $85 million dollar high school. Using the hashtag #RahmHatesUs, the protestors attempted to enroll and be given a tour of the Lab School but were stopped by security at the door. In 2011, Emanuel let his notorious temper flare in an interview with NBC Chicago when the station probed his choice to enroll his kids into the Lab School instead of CPS schools and said, “My children are not in a public position. I am….My children are not an instrument of me being mayor…I’m making this decision as a father,” before abruptly walking out of the interview.

Paul Vallas to Run Against Rahm?

Thinking about the mayoral election in February 2019? It looks like former CPS CEO—and, now, former chief administrative officer of Chicago State University—Paul Vallas may be too. Vallas recently stated that he would step down as chief administrative officer of Chicago State in March 2018 since “the university is on the right track” and he “may very well make the mayoral run.” Apparently the Chicago State trustees disagreed, because they voted unanimously on Monday to terminate their contract with Vallas immediately. Several trustees seemed taken aback by Vallas’s political ambitions, such as board Vice President Nicholas Gowen, who said that he found “it unfortunate that [Vallas] would attempt to use Chicago State University as a platform to run for the mayor of the city of Chicago.” It seems like it may be a rocky road for Vallas—aside from what happened this week, his past ties to Daley’s administration and controversial high school reform policies across the country can’t help.

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Fun-Filled Parent and Tot Demo Classes

Comprehensive Learning Services, 1642 E. 56th St. ste. 110. Wednesday, January 31, 9am–11am. Classes for ages 18 months–4 years. Free.

Enjoy a fun and free morning with two demonstration classes designed to help your child play and grow. Buddha Belly Yoga explores yoga through movement, stretching, singing and more, while Learning Out Loud helps develop toddlers’ early language skills. (Adia Robinson)

Black History Month African American Lit Fest

Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State St. February 3–February 26. Opening program Saturday, February 3, 10am–4pm.

Kick off Black History Month by getting lit with the African American Lit Fest. The Soulful Chicago Book Fair, in partnership with the Chicago Public Library African American Services Committee, will host a series of events with local authors, poets, and storytellers throughout the month. The opening program on Saturday features Dr. Haki Madhubuti, Maggie Brown, and Princess Pe’Tehn, a five-year-old poet prodigy. (Erisa Apantaku)

For Black Liberation and Socialism: A Black History Program

Trinity Episcopal Church, 125 E. 26th St. Saturday, February 3, 3pm–5pm.

The Freedom Road Socialist Organization invites you to join them in a program on Chicago’s racial and socioeconomic struggles today. Frank Chapman, Chicago Chair of the Joint Nationalist Commission of Freedom Road, and Curtis Bynum, teacher and Chicago Teachers Union organizer, will speak about the fight for racial equality, focusing on divestment from education in Black communities. (Erisa Apantaku)

Free Utility Clinic

John C. Haines Elementary School, 247 W. 23rd Pl. Monday, February 5, 5pm–7pm. Register by calling (872) 281-5775.

State Representative Theresa Mah (2nd District) and the Citizens Utility Board will be hosting a clinic to help ensure that residents are not overpaying for their services. Organizers ask community members to bring copies of their gas, electric, and/or phone bills for an expert to personally review. Spanish- and Chinese-speaking translators will be available. (Adia Robinson)

Free English Classes

Breakaway, 2424 S. Western Ave. Entrance on 24th Pl. Every Monday, 6:30pm–9pm. Free.

Breakaway social center is offering free English classes for Spanish speakers. A ninety-minute class will be followed by an informal hour-long language exchange between students and teachers. Student interests will shape topics and materials. (Rachel Schastok)

Clases de inglés gratuitas

Breakaway, 2424 S. Western Ave. La entrada está en la 24th Pl. Cada lunes, 6:30pm–9pm. Gratis.

Breakway centro social ofrece clases de inglés gratuitas para hispanohablantes. Una clase de noventa minutos será seguida de un intercambio de idiomas informal de una hora entre lxs estudiantes y lxs maestrxs. Los temas de la clase pueden cambiarse en función de los intereses de lxs estudiantes. (Rachel Schastok)

Ben Austen High-Risers Book Release Party

The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. Tuesday, February 6, 7pm. Free. (312) 801-2100.

Celebrate the release of Ben Austen’s new book, High-Risers, which explores the history of Cabrini-Green and its significance to housing practices in Chicago and nationwide. Remembrance of the now-defunct housing complex will be a multimedia affair: Sugar Ray Dinke will perform his eighties classic, “Cabrini Green Rap.” (Michael Wasney)

Reclaiming Our Throne

South Side YMCA, 6330 S. Stony Island Ave. Friday, February 9, 6pm–9:30pm.

Activist In You, an emerging non-profit social justice organization dedicated to empowering minority groups, will host a Black History Month celebration in Woodlawn. The event will include plenty of vendors and activities, as well as a panel from 7pm–8pm. (Jacob Swindell-Sakoor)


Call for Teen Artwork: Teen Arts Council Exhibition

Applications due Monday, February 5, 5pm. (773) 834-0224.

Are you a Chicago teen interested in sharing your work in a public venue? The Teen Arts Council (TAC) at the University of Chicago’s Arts Incubator is accepting submissions for an exhibition in spring 2018. The TAC is looking for work related to the themes of “Neighborhood” or “the Teen Experience”—however you interpret them in whatever medium you choose. (Roderick Sawyer)

Rompiendo Barrera

Casa Calle 20, 1538 W. Cullerton St. Friday, February 2, 6pm–9:30pm. Free.

Moises Salazar curates Casa Calle 20’s new exhibition, “Rompiendo Barrera.” This group show aims to humanize undocumented immigrants and shatter the stereotypes used to criminalize them. The art shown reveals the trauma, dreams, and strength of undocumented immigrants—narratives that too often go untold in political discourse. (Joseph S. Pete)

Chicago Pop Up: MadebyFresco x Sky Apparel

CHICAGOMIDWESTMADE, 1418 W. 18th St. Saturday, February 3, 5pm–10pm. (312) 722-6808.

Come vibe with Sky Apparel and MadebyFresco as they team up for a one-day pop-up shop. Both brands design T-shirts, sweatshirts, and hats with a Chicago flavor, and this collab will feature newly released items from both brands. (Erisa Apantaku)

Intermissions: Gordon Hall

The Renaissance Society, 5811 S. Ellis Ave., Cobb Hall rm. 418. Saturday, February 3, 12pm, performance at 5:08pm; Sunday, February 4, 12pm, performance at 5:10pm. (773) 702-8670.

Gordon Hall’s “Brothers and Sisters” exhibition doubles as a show and performance. The family of sculptures is made from a variety of materials, such as cast concrete, colored pencil, and carved brick, and will also serve as a setting for performances at select times (listed above) during the exhibition. (Roderick Sawyer)


Music@Grace Presents: Piano Performance Majors

Grace Episcopal Church, 637 S. Dearborn St. Thursday, February 1, 7:30pm–9:30pm. Free. (312) 922-1426.

In need of melody? Maybe the pianists of Roosevelt University’s College of Performing Arts will strike a chord with you. This Thursday, they’ll play at a recital in the South Loop, free of charge. (Christopher Good)

No Trend Records presents: Cell Phones, Absolutely Not, Ganser, and Avantist

Co-Prosperity Sphere, 3219 S. Morgan St. Friday, February 2, 8pm–11pm. $5. 18+ (773) 837-0145.

Indie label No Trend Records is putting on a showcase for four bands with upcoming album releases. Labelmates Cell Phones, Absolutely Not, Ganser, and Avantist will bring post-punk riffs and a taste of the tunes you’ll be listening to in 2018. (Erisa Apantaku)

Evolution of African American Music: From Africa to Hip Hop

DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Pl. Saturday, February 3, 2pm–3pm. $10 includes regular museum admission. (773) 947-0600.

Kick off Black History Month with some “kick snare kick snare high-hat.” The DuSable museum will trace the evolution of African American music from field hollers to R&B with an entertaining, educational and interactive concert for all ages. (Erisa Apantaku)

Soft Opening of Kálab

Kálab, 501.5 E. 47th St. (773) 336-2729. Saturday, February 3, 11am–7pm. Free, BYOB with $10+ contribution.

For the Love of Perception, an arts, music and entertainment center, will celebrate its move to Bronzeville with a soft opening this Saturday. Come through for vendors (11am–3pm), live music, an open mic (5–7pm), and mimosas––free with RSVP. (Christopher Good)

Love Songs Fam Jam

Hyde Park Neighborhood Club (Early Childhood Classroom E), 5480 S. Kenwood Ave. Sunday, February 4, 11am–12:30pm. $20 registration per family (all proceeds benefit scholarship fund).

Local organization Marsha’s Music Class aims to teach children basic music competency. This Sunday, they’ll host an event in Hyde Park to raise money for their scholarship fund. If you can’t attend, you can still consider donating to the cause. (Jacob Swindell-Sakoor)


Doc Films Friday Series: Marriage on the Verge of Collapse: “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof”

Max Palevsky Cinema, Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th St. Friday, February 2, 7pm and 9:30pm $5.

Come enjoy this classic, adapted from Tennessee Williams’s play, starring Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor, screened in 35mm format. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof explores themes of legacies and paradise lost as Brick, played by Newman, tries to deal with a crumbling marriage and disillusionment with society. (Erisa Apantaku)

Family Saturday: Animation by Local Legends

Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. Saturday, February 3, 3pm.

This month’s Family Saturday program celebrates five films by Lillian Somersaulter-Moats and J.P. Somersaulter, Downers Grove residents whose work from the seventies through the nineties used watercolor, stop-motion collage, and more to animate fairy tales and other idiosyncratic fantasies for children. (Julia Aizuss)

Too Lit for TV: Love & Nappiness

The Revival, 1160 E. 55th St. Saturday, February 3, doors at 9pm. $15.

The Revival, the company bringing improv back to its roots on 55th and University, is putting on a Black History Month edition of “Too Lit for TV” featuring the Martin Luther Kings of Comedy, Clare Austen-Smith, and a surprise musical guest. (Erisa Apantaku)

Lady Moses: The Life and Times of Harriet Tubman

DuSable Museum, 740 E. 56th Pl. Saturday, February 10, noon. $10. (773) 947-0600.

Chicago actress, playwright, and producer Cynthia Maddox uses monologue, music, and poetry to reinvent her original one-woman show, which tells the story of Underground Railroad abolitionist Harriet Tubman. (Nicole Bond)

King of the Policy: Running Numbers

Harold Washington Cultural Center, 4701 S. King Dr. Friday, February 9 and Saturday, February 10, 7pm; Sunday, February 11, 5pm; Monday, February 12–Wednesday, February 14, 10am. $40. (773) 373-1900.

The Harold Washington Cultural Center in Bronzeville presents this forties-era musical, written by Jimalita Tillman and directed by Boaz McGee, about how Black communities flourished by running the precursor to national lottery games: the policy racket. (Nicole Bond)

All My Sons

Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave. Through Sunday, February 11. Tickets $20–$68. (773) 753-4472.

Charles Newell directs Arthur Miller’s 1947 Drama Critics’ Award-winning play All My Sons. Featuring Timothy Edward Kane, John Judd, and Kate Collins, this dramatic tale, based on true events, weaves business, love, and tragedy and established Miller as an American theater icon. (Nicole Bond)


Jewel-Osco’s Taste of Black History Kickoff Event

Jewel-Osco, 1655 E. 95th St. Thursday, February 1, 3pm–7pm; 101 W. 87th St. Saturday, February 3, noon–4pm. Free.  (877) 276-9637.

To celebrate Black History Month, Jewel-Osco locations will be hosting events throughout February. The Jewel-Oscos on 95th and Stony Island and on 87th and State will be kicking off their own festivities this Thursday and Saturday, respectively. Come by to sample food products sold by Black-owned businesses, learn fire tips from chef demonstrations, win giveaways—and maybe even snag an autograph from one of the celebrity guests present. (Emeline Posner)

Indoor Market at The Plant

The Plant, 1400 W. 46th St. Saturday, February 3, 11pm–3pm. Free. (773) 847-5523.

The Plant, a small food business collaborative in Back of the Yards, will host a number of local vendors like Four Letter Word Coffee, Pleasant House Bakery, Vegan Food Truck Chicago, Faith’s Farm, Corazon Mixteco, and Verdant Matter at its monthly Indoor Market. There will also be a cooking demonstration, an advanced aquaponics workshop, live music and a craft beer taproom. (Joseph S. Pete)

Urban Livestock Expo!

Southside Occupational Academy, 7342 S. Hoyne Ave. Saturday, February 3, 11am–2pm. Free. (773) 850-0428.

Advocates for Urban Agriculture, a sustainable agriculture nonprofit in Chicago, teams up with Southside Occupational Academy to showcase the high school’s urban agriculture program and give workshops on raising urban livestock. Tips on how to raise bees, goats, chickens, ducks, and other animals in the city will be available for all experience levels. (Tammy Xu)

Windy City Harvest Corps Info Session

Arturo Velasquez Institute, 2800 S. Western Ave., rm. 1102. Monday, February 5, 9am–11am, and Monday, February 12, 9am–11am. Free.

Every year, Windy City Harvest runs a fourteen-week-long Harvest Corps training program designed to open a door into urban agriculture for those with (nonviolent) criminal backgrounds. Come by on one of the listed mornings for more information on how the multifaceted training program could suit your interests, and where it might lead you. (Emeline Posner)

51st Street Community Farmers Market Internship Applications

Send applications, questions, to Stephanie Dunn, Applications accepted through February 15.

United Human Services, a food pantry that operates twelve community gardens and farms in Back of the Yards, is looking for three farmers market interns and three farming interns for the coming season. The marketing internship will offer a $500 stipend for ten hours a week from May to October, and the farm internship is unpaid, with a free produce share and money-making opportunities at weekly farmers markets, for sixteen hours a week. Candidates will be interviewed and selected by March 15. (Emeline Posner)   

Chicago Food Policy Summit

South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Dr. Friday, February 23, summit 9am–5pm, reception 5:30pm–7:30pm. Reception $10, summit and reception $20.

Registration is now open for the thirteenth annual Chicago Food Policy Summit, organized around this year’s theme “From Survive to Thrive.”  The event is hosted by the Chicago Food Policy Action Council, a volunteer organization advocating for equal access to healthy food options in the city. Details about summit workshops, speakers, and vendors to be announced. (Tammy Xu)

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